Top picks for arts & entertainment enthusiasts for the week of March 16-24

Posted on March 16, 2013

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It is busy season around SWFL. Here are my top picks for you this week!

50Shades_basicSaturday, March 16
50 Shades of Green
Start your St. Patrick’s weekend in style at Gulf Coast Symphony’s Annual Gala and Auction. Treat yourself to this lavish black-tie (optional) event, hosted by Fort Myers’ favorite man about town: Eric Raddatz. You’ll enjoy a gourmet meal, decadent drinks, silent and live auctions, and of course, dancing. One of SWFL’s finest live bands, The Juice, will be hitting all the right notes to get you out of your seat and onto the dance floor.
Indulge your imagination and all your senses while you support the Gulf Coast Symphony’s community outreach programs, and reward yourself with fabulous auction items, such as: Hot Air Balloon Flight, Boating Adventures, Trip for Two to Seattle, Family Trip to Disney, Fine Art, Jewelry, Fort Myers Film Festival opening night gala tickets. The event takes place at the Crown Colony Country Club located at 8851 Crown Colony Blvd,  Fort Myers. Tickets are $100 and can be purchased by calling 239.277.1700 or by heading to GulfCoastSymphony.org

155672_175574922455782_3719666_nSunday, March 17
Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day
Forget cabbage and green beer. Try the best musical of all time. I’m not the only one who claims this to be their favorite musical production of all time. This 25th anniversary will be a sellout—go one hour before the show for RUSH tickets only $25 and are available at the box office located at 8099 College Pkwy, Fort Myers by calling (239) 489-303 or online at http://bbmannpah.com/performance.php?id=492#

Cameron Mackintosh presents a brand new 25th anniversary production of Boublil & Schönberg’s legendary musical, LES MISÉRABLES, with glorious new staging and dazzlingly reimagined scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo. This new production has been acclaimed by critics, fans and new audiences and is breaking box office records wherever it goes. The New York Times calls this LES MISÉRABLES “an unquestionably spectacular production from start to finish.”  The London Times hails the new show “a five star hit, astonishingly powerful.”

295589_10152085635923029_1380777088_nMonday, March 18
Sound of Music—Do-Re-Mi-Gotta-Go
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s classic musical about a nun hired as governess for the von Trapp children is spectacularly performed at the Broadway Palm Theatre. You will arrive humming the familiar music and leave singing it. The production is spectacular. Tickets start at $27 but you should stay for the dinner for $55. Call 239-278-4422 or head to 1380 Colonial Boulevard or online sales at www.broadwaypalm.com now. Naples News & News-Press reviews are raving. Special shout to SWFL powerhouse up-and-comer talent Carley Levy who plays one of the nuns!

Wednesday, March 20
FMffcardTWISTEDSTUFFERfrontBest Food Downtown—Hands Down
Twisted Vine has become the go to restaurant when it comes to the most delicious, locally grown, eclectic cuisine, prepared delicately for the most wonderful culinary delights. Be sure to go here while you are in town. Twisted Vine is located at 2214 Bay St., Fort Myers, right next to the recently opened basin walk. Call them at 226-1687 or head to www.twistedvinebistro.com for more information. You will see me there!

FMffcardTWISTEDSTUFFEbackThursday, March 21-24
Fort Myers Film Festival
It is official. Tickets to the Fort Myers Film Festival’s opening night gala at the Barbara B. Mann Thursday, March 21 are ON SALE NOW! Tickets for the red carpet roll out and opening night film & party with filmmakers are only $19! Be sure to tell a friend. Go VIP that night for only $99! The opening night film has been selected and it is “When I Walk” which has only played at Sundance at this point—and now Fort Myers! Download the complete guide for your iPhone, tablet or electronic device now HERE!! Tickets are on sale at http://bbmannpah.com/performance.php?id=548 or go to the Facebook event update page at http://www.facebook.com/events/116482891845525/?ref=ts&fref=ts

How will you walk the red carpet at this year’s Fort Myers Film Festival?

The Fort Myers Film Festival’s 3rd annual festival will be held March 21-24, 2013 at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, Alliance for the Arts, Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre with parties and afterparties all over town.

The Black Tie Red Carpet Gala will be celebrated with excitement and style March 21, 2013 at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall at 7 p.m. The event will begin with the red carpet rolling out, paparazzi clicking and doors opening at 5 p.m. for drinks, mingling & musical entertainment with local and international filmmakers prior to the featured movie. Tickets are $19, $99 for an VIP star studded backstage afterparty with the stars of the opening night’s films, with music, dancing, open bar and chance to meet with the stars of the evening’s film, filmmakers and event VIP. The event will provide the delicious foods from La trattoria Cafe Napole, White Pear Catering in Bonita Springs, Irresistible Confections and Lush Bakery. Watch last years video here http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10150579767950565. To buy tickets go to www.bbmannpah.com/ for more information go to http://bbmannpah.com/performance.php?id=548 The Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall is located at 8099 College Pkwy, Fort Myers, FL 33919. For more information call 239.489.3033.

Then come back for all of the programming from Friday, March 22- Sunday March 24, 2013. Films are $5 through the entirety of the festival playing at the magnificent Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center located at 2301 First St., Fort Myers, FL 33901. Films selected and times playing will become available March 1, 2013. For more information go to www.sbdac.com or call 239.333.1933. For a complete list of films playing head to www.fortmyersfilmfestival.com/films2013.html

A special day of film will take place at the Alliance for the Arts Saturday, March 23, 2013. Times are to be announced. The Alliance for the Arts is located at 10091 McGregor Blvd Fort Myers, FL 33919. For more information call 239.939.2787 or head to www.artinlee.org.

Join all of the local and international filmmakers as the celebrate the winners of the Fort Myers Film Festival. Finish off the weeklong celebration with champange & dessert awards ceremony which will take place at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Fort Myers with an afterparty to follow. A final film will be played, awards will be handed out and finalists will grace the red carpet in the newly refurbished theater. Champagne and dessert will be shared, short award winning films will be played and toasts will be deservedly pronounced. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the box office at 1380 Colonial Blvd Fort Myers, FL 33907, by calling 239.278.4422 or by heading to www.broadwaypalm.com.

The Fort Myers Film Festival is an intelligent independent filmmaker’s preferred event to create, unite and showcase the finest artistic cinematic works. The Fort Myers Film Festival is known for world-class swagger and support of local filmmakers. The festival event offers ‘the most vibrant intellectual and edgy crowd to grace Lee County in decades.’ The inaugural event featured two dozen local filmmakers is a must attend for cineasts who love indie film and film festivals living in Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties. That’s right, Fort Myers has a very exciting and upcoming film festival now, so come out for the fun.

In its first two years over three dozen local filmmakers shared the spotlight with independent films playing at the Fort Myers Film Festival that spanned the globe with selections from as far as Sierra Leone, Ireland, Poland, Japan and Sweden. “We all need to support local film, local business and local filmmakers in today’s economy. Knowing our area has something viable to offer in the realms of moviemaking will contribute towards economic growth and stability.” Eric Raddatz, founder of the festival said. “This year there were particularly interesting films submitted. Our audience will be delighted with what is in store for them this year.”

Come join an edgy, professional crowd with a fine appreciation for the art of film in the quaint and newly refurbished downtown area, also known as the River District. Along with feature, documentary and shorts divisions, special categories spanning faith, diversity and strictly local will enrich the festival with vibrant intellectualism.

Indie, or independent film, is film that is produced mostly outside of a major film studio. The term also refers to art films which differ noticeably from most mass marketed films. Which means you will find interesting creations shot here, and internationally, with ideas you may never have thought of or considered before. Some address issues you may never have heard of. Others will provoke thoughtful contemplation on points of view you have currently no idea of. The Fort Myers Film Festival is an intelligent independent filmmaker’s preferred event to create, unite and showcase the finest artistic cinematic works. The third annual event is a must attend for filmmakers living in Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties.

For more information, photos, film information & videos, head to www.fortmyersfilmfestival.com, www.facebook.com/fortmyersfilmfestival or follow the Fort Myers Film Festival at www.twitter.com/fortmyersfilm

The Fort Myers Film Festival supports Lee County Schools filmmakers and Southwest Florida Children’s Hospital. Sponsored by Pulse Magazine, UNIT A, Florida Weekly, Garth Francis Photography, Bennett’s Fresh Roast Coffee, Twisted Vine Bistro, Patrick Buckley Law Offices, J. Bert Davis M.D., F.A.C.S, Facial Surgeon, La trattoria Cafe Napole, White Pear Catering in Bonita Springs, Irresistible Confections, REE Corporation, CONRIC PR & Marketing | Publishing, Rasmussen College, MusikBeats, Black Tie Tuxedos, Azteca America, Holiday Inn, The Resort at Marina Village, Travelodge, Twisted Vine Bistro, Douglas E. Spiegel. P.A. and Taran’s Tasty Muffins

69271_10152630435510156_993336569_nFriday, April 5
UNIT A one year Anniversary Party!
UNIT A, Marcus Jansen’s open studio Headquarters, will celebrating it’s one year anniversary during Art Walk on April 5, 2013 at its location on 1922 Evans ave, unit A, Fort Myers Fl 33901 during a public reception and extraviganza that will include DJ, a special guest artist appearance and after party during Art Walk. The Party is a public event but entry is up to 140 people at a time, so get there early. Join the Facebook event page here!

Unit A is the newest most talked about cutting edge art space in Downtown. It opened in March of 2012 after internationally renown artist and fort Myers resident Marcus Jansen decided to transform part of his studio building from a forgotten church into the largest private art space of it’s kind in SW Florida. It’s the first space to open in the now been dubbed emerging “Warehouse Art district” in Downtown Fort Myers. Local Art community leaders have already held meetings about possible artists lofts and non for profit warehouse space for the arts having a place in that region using UNIT A as a catalyst to do so.

—Eric Raddatz is occasionally surprised as to all of the cool events that are happening in #SWFL and likes to share them with you. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ericraddatz for more updates! When in doubt be sure to pick up a Florida Weekly while in town or head to www.floridaweekly.com

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